Six Episodes from the Life of Luigi Ferdinando Marsili
Università degli studi di Bologna, Rettorato, Musei di palazzo Poggi
Oil on canvas
One 75 x 96 cm (QUA 291), the other five 83 x 94 cm
Local workshop, Baroque Age, late Baroque
Documentary and historical painting
The peace of Carlowitz between the Habsburg Empire, Venice, Poland and Russia on one side and Turkey on the other was negotiated in 1698–99. Bolognese Count Luigi Ferdinando Marsili, a representative of Emperor Leopold I of Austria, was among the diplomats involved. After his return to Bologna he founded the Istituto delle Scienze (Institute of Sciences) (1711). This series is composed of six paintings: five depicting military camps, travelling armies and trains and one representing the discussion about the borders of the Habsburg empire. The paintings describe the negotiations and the following operations in order to define the borders of Venice, the Empire and Turkey in Bosnia and Dalmatia. All paintings are described in the Instrumentum Donationis, housed in the Istituto delle Scienze (first half XVIII century). Each painting originally bore a wooden caption explaining the scene depicted in it, today only one survives. This sort of documentary painting was new for Bolognese culture, and has been connected with the astronomical scenes commissioned from Donato Creti in 1711 by Marsili himself (now in the Pinacoteca Vaticana).
In scene n. 291, painted with a rich brushstroke showing the influence of Giuseppe Maria Crespi, is depicted an episode of the negotiations for the peace: under a camp tent three diplomats sit next to their respective generals. In the foreground we are able to identify, thanks to the sealed letters they are holding in their hands, from the left the representative of Austria (Leopold Slink von Wischkirken or maybe Marsili himself, even if he was not the head of the diplomatic expedition), the representatives of Turkey (Reys Mohamed Effendi) and Venice (Carlo Ruzzini). We cannot say which exact moment of the negotiations is depicted here because the caption has been lost. The persons depicted are each identified with a letter which was further explained in a caption beneath the painting. However, the caption is now lost. It is a sort of birds-eye view of the military camp where the meeting took place, with a tent housing the diplomats and their respective armies. The paintings, dating to Marsili's most significant period of cultural and scientific zeal, employ a precise topographical description. They are a thorough representation of people, rather than focused on the epic and rhetorical meaning of the episodes.
In n. 291 is depicted an episode of the peace negotiations: under a camp tent three diplomats sit next to their respective generals.
The persons depicted in n. xxxx are each identified with a letter which was further explained in a caption beneath the painting. However, the caption is now lost. It is a sort of birds-eye view of the military camp where the meeting took place, with a tent housing the diplomats and their respective armies.
Luigi Ferdinando Marsili (Bologna 1658–1730)
Università degli Studi di Bologna, Rettorato, Musei di Palazzo Poggi
All these paintings are described in two documents from the first half of the XVII century: the act of donation of Marsili to the Istituto delle Scienze (Instrumentum …donationis…Comitis A. F. de Marsiliis, in gratiam novae Scientiarum Institutionis) and a manuscript inventory (Mss. Marsil., n. 85, fasc H).
Transilvania attraverso i documenti del Conte Luigi Ferdinando Marsili (ed. M. E. Amaldi), Rome, Istituto per l'Europa Orientale, 1930.
Autobiografia di Luigi Marsigli (ed. Comitato Marsiliano), Bologna, 1930.
Noè, E. “La raccolta dei Ritratti”, I Materiali dell'Istituto delle Scienze(exhibition catalogue), Bologna, 1979, pp. 159-160, nn. 32-37.
Guida ai Musei di palazzo Poggi. Scienza e arte (ed. W. Tega), Bologna, 2001, pp. 108-113.
Carla Bernardini "Six Episodes from the Life of Luigi Ferdinando Marsili" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2016. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=object;BAR;it;Mus13;48;en
Prepared by: Carla BernardiniCarla Bernardini
AFFILIATION: Musei Civici d'Arte Antica, Bologna
TITLE: Curator of the Collezioni Comunali d'Arte
Graduated in Modern Literature, specialized in History of Art at the University of Bologna.
She is a specialist in Bolognese and Emilian art of the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of her essays are dedicated to museology and collecting, decorative and applied arts, revival in the Visual arts between the 19th and the 20th centuries. Since 1985 she works at Musei Civici d’Arte Antica of Bologna, as curator of the Collezioni Comunali d'Arte.
Translation by: Antonella MampieriAntonella Mampieri
AFFILIATION: Musei Civici d’Arte Antica, Bologna
TITLE: Art Hitorian
Graduated and specialised at the University of Bologna. She is a specialist in Bolognese late Baroque art, namely sculpture. Among other subjects she has been studying nineteenth-century funerary art in the Bologna monumental cemetery, la Certosa.
Translation copyedited by: Lisa Kelman
MWNF Working Number: IT2 53